Harry Potter and Future's Past

Starts out the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry and Hermione meet the Goddess of Love, and she offers to let them go back in time. Strictly Harry and Hermione. Minor - well maybe major Ginny, Ron and Dumbledore Bashing. Soul Bond - Time Travel

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5664828/1/Harry-Potter-and-Future-s-Past

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21. Chapter 21 The Hogwart's Express

June 24th 1996

Hermione awoke from the nightmare with a start as she sat bolt upright in the darkness. She looked around in panic before she realized where she was. She was in a bed in the Room of Requirements not at Malfoy Manor. She was at Hogwarts and she was with Harry, she was safe. As her adrenaline ran out of her she felt Harry's arms wrap around her.

"What's wrong?" He asked in a concerned voice. He already knew since the remnants of the nightmare had already bled into his thoughts. It hadn't been the first time, nor, he knew, would it be the last.

"Nightmare...or I should say memories," She replied as she shuddered. "Bellatrix."

Harry knew it was their time at Malfoy Manor she had relived. He put a little more pressure into his hug as he whispered. "She's gone. She can't hurt anyone anymore," He knew what she felt though, not only by sharing her thoughts but by having had similar nightmares after the graveyard and Cedric's death.

"I know," Hermione replied softly. "It's just in the nightmare I...I could actually feel the dagger at my throat..." Her hand rose to the spot the blade had touched her neck as she paused for a breath. Another breath and then a sigh. "I was barely conscious at the time and couldn't move. I...I just knew I was going to die," She turned to look at Harry. "Though you should never have put down your wand. If Dobby hadn't shown up we'd all have been killed or worse...and I don't mean expelled."

"I had to," Harry said. "I couldn't let anything hurt you."

"I'd have preferred to die than be given to Greyback," Hermione replied in a hoarse whisper as a tear escaped an eye and ran down her cheek.

"No..." Harry started.

"Harry I'm serious," Hermione cut him off as her voice grew stronger. "I love you and I know you love me, but if you ever are faced with that kind of decision again, promise me..."

Harry's eyes seemed to glow in the darkness before he cut her off. "NO..." He exclaimed. "I can't promise that. I will not promise that. As long as there is time, there is hope."

"And if time runs out and I'm given to Greyback or something just as bad?"

"I...we'll see, but I will not promise it," Harry replied determinedly. He sighed as the memory of the event leapt into his mind. Bellatrix with the knife to Hermione's throat. The crazed witch demanding they drop their wands. "I had to drop...my...wand." Harry's last few words were slowed as an idea ran through his mind.

"I know and that..."

"No…you don't understand, she told us to drop our wands, they took our wands," Harry said. "Even before when we were captured, they took our wands but they never searched us...I mean Ron still had the deluminator and I had my pouch."

"So?"

"Maybe it wouldn't hurt to have knives for ourselves," Harry replied. "Small ones that'll fit in our pockets."

"What good would they do?" Hermione asked. "I don't plan on cutting anyone's throat."

"No but..." Harry started before he looked into Hermione's eyes. "How do you think we can get goblin made ones?"

"Why?" Hermione asked before her eyes narrowed. "You're thinking about basilisk venom on them aren't you?"

"Yes," Harry admitted with a nod. "I...I don't think I could actually stab someone unless we're desperate..." He shrugged, "but maybe it'd be easier if all I had to do was cut them."

Hermione stared at her husband for a few seconds before slowly nodding. "I agree, but not our pockets. I'm not carrying around something like that in my pocket. Not if a single scratch could kill," She furrowed her brow before continuing. "I wonder where Hagrid got the mokeskin pouch he gave you? That would be perfect."

"I don't know but he said they were rare," Harry replied as he remembered his seventeenth birthday that was still over a year away.

"We can ask him; maybe he can tell us where to buy them. If not I can always make a couple of smaller pouches like my bag."

"I wonder..." Harry started and got up off the bed. He was gone for a couple of minutes and brought back several knives and daggers they had found. "I wonder if any of these are goblin made," He started pulling one after another out of their sheaths only to put it back. "I wouldn't know how to tell."

"I don't either," Hermione said as she eyed the weapons. "I mean it's obvious the ones with rust are probably not Goblin made, but the only other thing we know that are different is that they absorb..."

At the same time they both said "we could try a drop of venom on them."

"Yes, if it absorbs the venom, it's goblin made," Hermione finished.

"We can run down to the Chamber in the morning," Harry said with a yawn. "Let's go back to sleep."

"You go ahead," Hermione replied. The adrenaline had pushed all sleepiness out of her body. "I don't think I can go back to sleep," She grabbed her wand and silently cast the time spell. "Four twenty, sun will be up soon anyway. I've got plenty of books to rea..." She stopped when Harry got out of bed and started pulling on his clothes.

"Get dressed," He said.

"You go back to bed," Hermione argued. "Like I said, I have plenty to keep me busy."

He shook his head and said. "We are going to watch the sunrise," He looked at her clothes which were folded neatly beside the bed. "If you hurry that is."

Ten minutes later, with the help of Winky and Dobby, they stood at the top of the Astronomy Tower. The sun was just breaking over the mountains to the east. The rays that rose into the sky changed the small fluffy clouds into multicolored jewels that laid upon an ever lightening blue background. Harry and Hermione could see their breath in the chilly air of the late June morning. The hot tea the elves had brought them was keeping them warm. In the distance they heard the far off sounds of the approaching Hogwarts Express that would take them back to London in several hours. For a half an hour they stood and watched as the sun rose, climbing over the surrounding mountains. As the light touched the forest, it changed from a darkened blue to a bright green.

"It's beautiful," Hermione said as she leaned her body against Harry.

"And yet it pales in comparison to you," Harry replied as he wrapped his arms around her.

"My my Mr. Potter, where did that silver tongue come from?" Hermione asked as she turned to look at him. A smile was on her lips because she knew he was sincere.

He didn't answer as he took the cup of tea from her hand and set it down on the tower wall. He looked at her for a second before his lips descended to hers. Cold lips soon warmed as the kiss they shared continued. When it finally ended he answered her question as he whispered. "I was inspired."

"Then allow me to inspire you some more," Hermione murmured as she initiated the kiss this time.

It was still before six when they entered Moaning Myrtle's bathroom carrying Harry's Firebolt. The silvery ghost zoomed out of her stall and was about to burst into a tirade when she saw who it was. "Oh hi Harry," She said. "Why haven't you come to see me this year?"

"Hi Myrtle," Harry replied as he thought back to when he'd last seen Myrtle. The confrontation with Draco hadn't happened until the next year. Finally he settled on, "I've been busy. Umbridge and everything."

"I understand," The ghost said before continuing in a hopeful tone. "Any chance you might die soon?"

"Uh..." Harry replied as he looked at Hermione for help. "Is it bad to say I don't want to die to someone who's dead?" He asked her. "I don't think so," He finally said to the ghost when Hermione didn't answer because she was too busy smirking.

"Well if you do, you're always welcome to share my toilet," said the blushing ghost who then zipped back into her stall. Harry and Hermione heard a small splash as she dove into the water.

Harry turned to Hermione and cocked his head in question.

"Do I need to fight with a ghost over my husband?" She asked with a smile.

"No..." Harry stammered but then focused on the sink where that hid the pipe that led to the Chamber. "Why don't you try it? Hiss something."

It took Hermione several hisses before it opened. They had been puzzled at first thinking maybe they had been wrong, but then Hermione realized that it couldn't be a regular hiss since anyone might make a similar sound or even water coming out of a tap might hiss. Dumbledore would have thought of that. She tried a longer hiss that reflected two changes in tone and immediately the sink started to sink into the floor exposing the large pipe that was the way below.

"Of course," Hermione muttered. "Ron tried a couple of times as well. I should have remembered."

"Doesn't matter," Harry replied as he climbed onto his firebolt. "Let's go."

Hermione didn't hesitate as she mounted the broom behind Harry and wrapped her arms around him. With a kick the broom rose slightly and they disappeared down the pipe. To Hermione it had only been a little more than a month since she'd made the same journey with Ron in the future. As they descended, she couldn't help but compare the rides. She'd had her eyes closed most of the time with Ron as the broom seemed to jerk endlessly as it sped up and slowed down as Ron had maneuvered it down the pipe. Left, right, up and down, the movements had been sickening; now she realized if it wasn't for the walls and air moving past she'd believe they were standing still because of the smoothness of the ride. Maybe it was just the Firebolt compared to the broom Ron had, but she felt it was more likely the one in control of it. When the broom emerged from the pipe, Harry increased the speed and Hermione's grip on her husband tightened but she never felt a moment of fear. It wasn't fear of flying; it was heights that she didn't like. When they finally made it to the chamber Hermione was lost in her memories of flying with Harry on the back of Buckbeak all those years ago wondering what life would had been like had she and Harry kissed that night.

"I thought you'd have screamed," Harry admitted as they climbed off the broom.

"It's heights I don't like," Hermione said. "I don't mind the broom," Her eyes met his. "Especially with you," She admitted.

It took less than a half hour to get into the Chamber, coax the four or five drops of venom that remained in each fang into a jar Hermione had brought and return back to the bathroom above.

** E E **

It was still early when they made it to Hagrid's. The chill was still in the air. Sunlight though, was warming the day rapidly.

"Good mornin' to yeh. It's about time yeh made it back down here," Hagrid said as he opened the door and saw who was standing there. "I mean outside o' class I haven' had a chance to say congratulations," He pulled the two teens into a hug. "Always did think yeh two would make a good pair."

"Thanks Hagrid."

"So what's this I am'a hearin about'a marriage?" Hagrid asked with a twinkle in his eye. "And me not gett'n an invitation?"

They spent a few minutes taking about Grawp and how much better he was doing. They also discussed the wizarding world and how they now believed Harry. Finally they knew they needed to go meet Neville and Luna so Harry broached the subject about what they had wanted to know. "Hagrid, Hermione was reading about something called a Mokeskin pouch and it sounded really useful. Do you know where I can buy one?"

"Mokeskin hey, they rare them," Hagrid said. "You know you can hide anythin'..." He stopped and looked at the two of them. "Plan'n on taking after your father are yeh?"

"Not that, but…" Harry replied as he pulled out the mirror. "I wanted something to keep this and a few other things in so I don't lose it."

"Well now, seeing that brings back sum old memories..." Hagrid said as he looked at the mirror in Harry's hand. "I remember seeing your father and Sirius..." He paused and frowned thoughtfully before continuing, "wait a minute," He got up and walked over to a cabinet. When he had it opened he started rummaging into it. He pulled out piles of odds and ends until finally he found what he was looking for. "Thought so," He muttered. He turned back to Harry and Hermione. "Bloke gave me these a few years back," He said and help up two identical pouches like the one he'd given Harry on his seventeenth birthday. The sight of them made Harry blink as tears threatened to appear. "You two can have'm."

"We can pay you for them," Harry suggested as he reached into his pocket.

Hagrid waved his hand dismissively. "Not like I'm ah using 'em," He smiled at them. "We'll call them a weddin' present, how's that?"

"As long as you don't bring one when we have our real wedding."

"Can't be promisin' things like that can I now?" He winked as he handed the bags to them. "Go'on take 'm."

"Thanks Hagrid," Harry replied and gave his first friend a hug. Hermione joined them.

** E E **

"Did you get your stuff back, Luna?" Harry asked. Neville and Luna had been waiting for them in the Room of Requirements. He knew she had since Dobby had already told them earlier that morning as well as given them the list of people who had it.

"Yes," Luna replied. "Thank you. They even found things I'd lost last year."

"Thank Dobby and Winky."

Harry and Hermione explained what they had retrieved from the Chamber and their plan to test the weapons. Neville and Luna readily agreed to help. They all put on Dragon hide gloves before they laid out the weapons that had the most potential to be Goblin made. The testing went quickly as the put a single drop of venom on a weapon. If it didn't disappear into the blade they allowed it to run off of it onto another blade. It became a game of balancing the dangerous liquid drop on the blade and ensuring it moved in the right direction. By seven-thirty they had found a small axe and weapon that was the half the size of a sword but much bigger than a dagger proven to be goblin made.

"Well neither of these will work for us," Harry said in disappointment. "But they're probably worth something."

"True. We can put them in the vault with the jewels."

Hermione pulled out her wand and put a protection spell on the blades so they wouldn't accidentally cut anyone. They then started putting some of the books Hermione wanted to study over the summer into the cabinet as well. Sirius was roused and started unloading on his end.

"So did you have any trouble placing those bets yesterday?" Harry asked Sirius.

"Nope...hey the odds were thirty to one for that guy, did you know that?"

"No."

"Not as good as the streaker odds though," Sirius said mirthfully.

"Streaker?" Hermione asked. "They allowed bets for..."

"Yep," Sirius replied grinning. "I put a thousand Galleons on that just so the Goblin would have to write it down," He laughed. "You should have seen the distaste," He mimicked writing. "Non magical human appearing nude or..."

Hermione had stopped handing Harry books as her eyes grew wide. "It happened," She said. "Mother said a woman did it right before the final match. I remember because she said in the following interview the winner had said the streaker had relaxed him while the loser said it had distracted him."

"Really?" Sirius said as his eyes twinkled. "Not sure if I should bet more or get tickets to the event. Do you remember if she was cute?"

"Sirius!" Hermione exclaimed.

"I was just asking," He said still smiling. "Sixty-six to one for her showing up. That'll pay for a something nice for your birthday Harry."

Before Harry could respond they heard the door to the Room of Requirements open and after quickly extinguishing the mirror they turned.

"The very people I wished to see," A Scottish burr informed them.

"We were coming to see you soon, Professor McGonagall," Harry replied.

"I was searching for you to let you know the Headmaster wishes to speak to you this morning," McGonagall said. She looked over at Neville and Luna before looking back at Harry and Hermione. "I also need to speak to you two privately. Please come to my office later."

"Neville and Luna already know we're married," Hermione said correctly interpreting her favorite professor. "That's why they did that thing in the Great Hall. You can say whatever you need in front of them. We trust them completely."

"Very well if you're sure."

"Oh here," Harry said. "Before I forget to give this back," He unpinned the prefect's badge and held it out to her.

"That's one of the things I wanted to speak to you about," The professor replied. "With Mr. Malfoy away, you'll stay a prefect for the duration of the return trip."

"Yes Ma'am," Harry replied as he pinned the badge back on his robes.

"What are your intentions for next year?" McGonagall asked them. "In regards to your marriage? Eventually the news will break, I think you know that. What I really need to know is if you want married quarters for next year?"

"Yes ma'am. I mean...I understand you need to know," Hermione answered. She looked at Harry and after a quick conversation that no one else heard she continued. "Though we are technically married and I am truly thankful and happy to be Mrs. Potter, we aren't ready to be married yet, so no, we will not be asking for married quarters for the coming year. When we are ready or forced to acknowledge the fact, we'll be honest and say it happened magically but we were not ready for all that it entails."

McGonagall's eyes seemed to brighten. "Had you request married quarters I would have had to ask for your Prefect's badge next year," She said to Hermione "But since you are not, then I'd like to discuss the possibility of you keeping that," She said nodding at the badge Harry had just pinned back on his robe.

"But Ron?"

"Miss..Mrs. Potter did you have issues with Mr. Weasley this year?" McGonagall asked. "I've had to change the Prefects patrolling roster several times as you might have noticed because several others have complained."

"I..." Hermione started but didn't finish.

"I wished you had brought it to me earlier," McGonagall replied sternly. "I know he was a friend but now I will need to explain to Molly Weasley about her son and I'm sure it will warrant a Howler for either him or me."

"It's not that important ma'am," Harry said with a shrug. "Ron can keep it."

"I disagree," Professor McGonagall replied sternly. "Being a prefect is more than just a status symbol. It's not just a badge and special bathroom privileges. A prefect is the professors' representative amongst the students," Her gaze lingered on Harry before she continued. "I heard what you said to the Headmaster, Mr. Potter. If you truly believe that students need to be held accountable, then shouldn't it start at the Prefect level? If Mr. Weasley isn't doing the job properly, shouldn't he be replaced?"

"Yes ma'am," Harry replied. He knew that Professor McGonagall had a point.

"Are you still interested in Runes?" McGonagall asked, changing subjects.

"Yes."

"Then you might want to study some this summer," She said. "It appears the two options are a Slytherin, Hufflepuff third year or a Gryffindor, Ravenclaw fourth year class. You'll be tested before the school year and if you've made enough progress we can make room for you in the fourth year class."

"Thank you."

"That's quite alright," McGonagall replied. "I'm just happy you're wishing to apply yourself now. Late is always better than never," She turned to leave. "Remember that Professor Dumbledore wishes to see you."

"We'll go now," Hermione said. She looked over at Luna and Neville. "We'll meet you at the carriages later?" She placed the mirror in Neville's hand so they could finish what they had been doing. With a nod, she turned and after taking Harry's arm followed McGonagall out of the room.

When they were in the out of the room, Harry remembered Quidditch and that he'd been captain the last time. "Professor, may I ask who will be Quidditch captain next year?"

"I don't think I can allow you to do both," McGonagall replied misinterpreting the question.

"No, I don't want it," Harry replied honestly as he remembered the headaches from the tryouts, dealing with McClaggen, and everything else. Harry didn't want to do it again. He especially didn't even want to think about Hermione cheating to help Ron. Harry mentally slapped himself. "That should have been my first clue," Harry told his wife.

"What?"

"When you jinxed McClaggen at tryouts...you didn't think anything was wrong with cheating to help Ron but then you constantly complained about me using that book," He said. "I should have realized you're not that inconsistent."

"I should have too," Hermione sighed. "I'll give it to Ginny, jealousy potions were the perfect solution to her problem. It...it all seemed so reasonable."

"That leaves Miss Bell," Professor McGonagall was saying. "Though I am quite concerned that she might be too nice to do the job and she's more dedicated to her studies.."

"What about Ron?" Harry replied without thinking, but he quickly realized it wasn't that bad of an idea. He knew that Ron would be a much better Quidditch Captain than Prefect. "He lives, eats and breathes Quidditch."

"Ron?"

"He actually would be a better Quidditch captain than I was," Harry replied. "He's also the hero of this year's final match so he'd get respect from the team," He finished to McGonagall.

"But he'd be insufferable if Gryffindor won," Hermione complained.

"Probably, but maybe we owe him something," Harry said. "This will give him his shot; give him a chance to do his own thing."

"That might appease Molly though that shouldn't matter," McGonagall replied thoughtfully. "I shall consider it."

"Ma'am," Hermione said. "If you really are going to consider Ron, you might want to require him to keep a certain academic performance requirement, otherwise..."

"Mrs. Potter, have you ever heard the expression concerning teaching your Grandmother to suck eggs?"

"Uh...sorry Ma'am."

"That's quite alright. Though I do appreciate opinions, you should have already known that I am very much aware of Mr. Weasley's academic performance."

** E E **

"What did Professor Dumbledore want?" Neville asked as they all made themselves comfortable in the train compartment sometime later. They had gotten there early so they could get the very last compartment. Anyone coming to their compartment would have passed other empty compartments and people so they'd definitely be looking for them.

"He wanted to express his displeasure with the interview we gave Skeeter," Hermione replied.

"It seems he and the school are being sent owls continually asking why Snape is teaching here," Harry smirked.

"I'm glad I won't be taking potions next year," Neville replied.

"If things happen like they did last time, he'll be teaching Defense instead," Hermione said. "Slughorn, the Professor who had the party where Harry took Luna, he taught potions. He was much better than Snape. So if you get an Exceeds, give it a shot."

"Dumbledore also wanted to give us an update on my Aunt and Uncle," Harry said. "He hadn't found a way to protect them and they refused to go into hiding voluntarily. It seems they think it's all a trick and I am trying to steal their house and turn it into...what did he say?"

"A freakhouse," Hermione replied. She then continued to Luna and Neville. "But Harry was able to suggest a plan that should keep them safe," She looked over at Harry and smiled.

"What did you suggest?" Luna asked.

"It actually was Hermione's idea," Harry admitted as he returned Hermione's smile. "But one she thought of a year in the future," He waited for a couple of seconds before continuing. "I only suggested he modify their memories to convince them they are Wendell and Monica Wilkins along with their son Chuckles and that they desire to move to Australia."

"Chuckles? Did you mean Chuck?" Luna asked.

"No, Chuckles," Harry replied and then shrugged. "I thought it was funny."

"Dumbledore agreed to that..." Luna started and immediately went quiet as the door to the compartment slid open and there stood Ginny Weasley. She walked in and started putting away her stuff as if they had been expecting her.

Harry looked over at Luna and Neville and gave them a small wink before addressing the youngest Weasley. "There's my little sister, I was beginning to wonder if you were going to show up."

It took Ginny a couple of seconds but when she replied her voice sounded strained. "Uh...I didn't see you at breakfast."

"We had to meet with the Headmaster," Hermione replied nicely.

"What about?" Ginny asked as she turned and sat down.

Before Harry or Hermione could answer, Luna piped up. "It must be so nice to be like Harry's sister," She said to Ginny. "Of course if I was Harry's sister then Hermione would be my sister too since she's as good as Mrs. Potter already."

Ginny didn't reply as she swallowed hard. Her eyes moved from Harry to everyone else, lingering on Hermione for several seconds at the end. Finally she rasped out a "Yeah."

"I never did say I was sorry that you and your boyfriend broke up," Hermione said. "I've been so engrossed in studying and of course Harry," She leaned over and kissed Harry on the cheek before smiling at Ginny again. "If you ever want to talk about it..."

"It...it's fine," Ginny replied a little to gruffly. "That was weeks ago."

"So got anyone else in mind already?" Harry asked. "Anyone I need to be concerned about my little sister being with?"

"Yes actually," Ginny said figuring it would be a good time to start her plan. "I've chosen Dean Thomas."

'I've chosen Dean Thomas' The words echoed in Harry mind and memories of the same train ride came to mind. The same words spoken from the same person. "DAMN!" He mentally shouted to his wife. "She said the same thing last time...remember. Ron had told her to choose better next time. Come to think of it, I wonder if that was a setup because I think he looked over at me when he said it. He must have already known her plans. Especially after he overreacted the way he did. Anyway, she said 'I've chosen Dean Thomas.' She didn't say I'm dating him or seeing him but I've CHOSEN him. If they were already seeing each other wouldn't she have at least spent some time with him on the train trip back to London? I mean it would be the last time they were to see each other for months?"

"You're right," Hermione agreed. "Very suspicious. She already had her plans in the works didn't she?"

"Dean?" Harry asked after agreeing with Hermione. "Well he's a pretty good bloke. Maybe I should have a word with him."

"NO!" Ginny shouted before calming down. "I mean I don't want him intimidated. Ron's bad enough you know."

Harry shrugged. "Just trying to be a good big brother."

Ginny looked away without answering. She seemed to be mumbling something.

"I also never asked about Bulstrode," Hermione said. "I understand something..."

"DON'T!" Ginny said quickly and much too loud. "I don't ever want to think of it."

"I'm sorry but it was so unbelievable and the deal with Ron as well in the OWL," Harry said. "I wonder who would have given those Slytherins love potions."

"Probably someone pissed at them," Hermione suggested. "But come to think of it, it must have happened that same night they stole my candy and your tart."

Ginny's skin tone was becoming paler and paler as they continued to discuss the incident until she finally said. "Can we discuss something else?"

"Oh sure," Hermione replied. "Looking forward to the summer?"

"I guess," Ginny answered as she looked over at Harry. "I think we are going to be at Grimmauld place because of the Order again. I'll make sure to write to you this year Harry no matter what Dumbledore says. It really was unfair last year," She glanced at Hermione wondering if she'd go against Dumbledore.

"Why?" Harry asked as he played with Ginny.

"Why was it unfair?" Ginny asked incredulously. "Because you were..."

"No I mean why write?" Harry asked innocently. "If you're going to be at Grimmauld place I'll be seeing you all summer. I mean after all Sirius is my guardian now."

"But..." Ginny started as her eyes widened but she quickly recovered. "That...That's excellent Harry. No more of those muggles," She glanced up at her bag that held the 'gifts' she had planned on giving him and Hermione as they left the train. She sighed grumpily as she realized she couldn't give Harry the dosage that she wanted. That kind of abrupt change would not go unnoticed at Grimmauld Place. She then thought of having a whole summer locked in the same house with Harry and no Hermione. A smile crossed her face as she thought of the gift she could still give the know-it-all. "Yes that is very nice," The smile remained until...

"Hermione will be coming over as much as she can," Harry said as he leaned over and kissed his wife.

"That...that's nice," Ginny replied through gritted teeth, but again she thought of the possible opportunities. She silently thanked herself for not throwing out all of the additional potion she had brewed after lacing the food and treats she had in her bag. She'd have to lower the amount of potion, but she'd have all summer to get her Harry.

"Well Harry and I better go up to the Prefects' car and check in," Hermione said. "We'll be back when we can."

Ginny's eyes narrowed for a second before she asked. "Prefect? I thought you were only one until the school year was up," The question was directed at Harry. She'd hoped to have some time with Harry while Hermione was away being a prefect.

"With Malfoy not on the train they were going to be a Prefect short," Harry explained with a shrug. Until McGonagall made it official he wasn't going to say anything else. He took Hermione's arm and slipped out of the compartment.

As the door closed, Neville said. "They sure are good together aren't they?"

"They are," Luna agreed. "What do you think, Ginny?"

Ginny had been lost in revising her summer plans but as she heard Luna's question, simple plan came to mind. One that might help her get Harry's friends supporting her instead of Hermione. "I'm not so sure," She said finally.

"What do you mean?" Neville asked.

"Don't you think it strange how suddenly the two of them got together?" Ginny asked. "I'm concerned about Harry and with all the love potion stuff going on..."

"You think Hermione might have given Harry something that attracts Nargles?" Luna asked.

"I'm not saying anything," Ginny said as she raised her hands in an innocent fashion. "But anything is a possibility, isn't it? I mean I like Hermione but it was very sudden..."

Neville was curious to see what Ginny would reveal so he played along. "I guess. It was rather sudden as you say."

Ginny smiled, though as she glanced out the window she didn't see the wink Neville gave Luna. She reached up into her bag and pulled out her copy of the Quibbler. She knew Luna would always believe anyone who was a fan of the magazine. As she worked the puzzles she'd occasionally make innocent comments to herself that she said just loud enough for Neville and Luna to hear. Comments like, "It could have been the reason they stopped being friends with Ron, he'd have gotten suspicious at the abrupt change in Harry," and "I understand they were eating elsewhere on a lot of evenings. What better way to give Harry potions."

After a while Neville, on the pretext of going to the bathroom, slipped out of the compartment and went to tell Harry and Hermione Ginny's latest attempts.

As Harry and Hermione strolled toward the front of the train and the Prefects' car, they looked in each compartment. They were looking for Dean Thomas. All of the DA members were happy to see them except Marietta Edgecombe who was wearing a balaclava, and Cho Chang. They found Dean in a compartment with Ron, Seamus and Ernie Macmillan. Ron was busy in a game of chess with Seamus while Dean and Ernie were finishing up a game of exploding snaps.

"Ron," Hermione said. "Shouldn't you be headed to the prefects' car?"

"I'll go as soon as I finish this," He nodded at the board.

"But the train will leave soon and we're supposed to be there before it does."

Ron waved his hand dismissively as he turned his attention back to the board.

Before Hermione could respond Harry silently told her to leave it. He then said. "Dean, got a minute? I want to discuss something with you."

"Sure Harry," Dean replied as he got up.

"Excuse me," Ernie said has he squeezed past Harry. "I'll see you in the Prefects' compartment," He said as he started toward the front of the train.

"At least someone knows what it means to be a Prefect," Hermione muttered overly loud so Ron could hear her. No response came from their old friend as he continued to stare at the chess board. By then Dean was with them.

When they were in the corridor and the compartment door was shut, Harry started. "There's a rumor going around that you and Ginny are now an item."

"Ginny? Weasley?"

"Yeah."

Dean shrugged. "Not that I know of, but you know girls...uh sorry Hermione," He stammered. "She was talking to me in the carriage earlier. She mentioned she'd write," Dean smiled. "Even promised to send me an apple pie from apples picked from their orchard. I mean she's cute enough and everything but we're definitely not an item."

"Well we can guess how she planned on getting to him," Harry said as he glanced at Hermione. He then nodded at Dean. "Just thought I'd ask. Sorry to bother you."

"No problem," Dean replied. He turned back toward the compartment and as his hand touched the door, he turned back. "Hey are you planning on the DA again next year?"

"We'll see. Have to see what kind of Defense instructor they get next."

"I guess, but anyone's got to be better than Umbridge, right?"

"What if it's Snape?" Harry asked.

"Oh please don't even kid about something like that," Dean replied with a pained look. "That's horrible."

Harry patted the taller boy's shoulder. "You never know at Hogwarts," He said.

"We need to get going Harry," Hermione said. As they left Dean she whispered to her husband. "Well he's not been potioned yet, but it's a pretty good bet that Ginny will use the pie or something else she sends to him as a way to get a love potion to him."

"True, but we'll never be able to prove it."

"Maybe not, but we can keep in contact with him, see if the attitude changes," Hermione replied. "But hopefully we can deal with Ginny sooner than later once we get to Grimmauld."

When Neville showed up an hour later and told them what Ginny was implying, Hermione was ready to deal with the issue then and there.

"She's small Harry, I sure she'll fit if I throw her out the window," She implored her husband. "If she doesn't I can always enlarge the window."

"I'm tempted to let you," Harry replied. "But no," He looked at Neville and remembering the trip to Hogwarts in the fifth year. An idea came to mind. "She's got to have the stuff somewhere right? Probably in her bag?"

"Yes?"

"We just need a reason to be in her bag," Harry said. "Neville do you still have that Mimbuls whatever?"

"My Mimbulus mimbletonia? Of course, why?"

"Will it still throw out that stinksap?"

"Yeah, of course."

"Can you get it to aim it at something...like Ginny's bag?" Harry asked. He remembered last time it went everywhere.

Neville smiled as he understood. "I think so; I'll have it out when you get back."

"Just don't let Ginny go to the bathroom until we get there," Harry said. "She'll eventually have to go and that'll give us our chance."

Neville gave another grin and turned and made his way back down the train.

They passed by the compartment with Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe again and Hermione said. "Marietta was on that list of bullies wasn't she?"

"Yes."

"I have an idea," Hermione said as she slid open the compartment and stuck her head in. "Marietta, may I have a word?"

The girl with the Balaclava looked over and her eyes had a mixture of fear and anger. "What do you want Granger?"

"A word," Hermione repeated.

It was still several seconds of staring before Edgecombe left her seat. Cho Chang started to follow, but Harry held up his hand. "We're not going to hurt her Cho," He said. "Just want to make her an offer."

"What?" Marietta asked in a snarl but her eyes, which were quite prevalent through the Balaclava, showed the fear she felt.

"About the..." Hermione nodded toward Edgecombe's face.

Marietta backed away from Hermione but tried argue. "You...you had no right to jinx that parchment and not tell us."

"And you had no right to be a snitch," Hermione growled in a whisper. "You almost got Harry expelled and had it worked, he would have had his wand snapped. Who do you think would have fought off Voldemort if that had happened?"

Marietta withdrew even further at the mention of the Dark Lord before simpering. "I was just doing what my mother told me to do."

"And she was supporting Umbridge who is now being tried for murder, attempted murder and torture. Is your mother under investigation as well?"

Marietta wanted to be defiant but could only give a slight shrug. "I...I don't know. Maybe. She said something bad has happened...so probably."

Hermione sighed. "I'm not here to argue with you. I actually plan on helping you, maybe."

A spark of hope showed in the eyes behind the mask, but Edgecombe didn't say anything.

"You see we also know that you and several others have been bullying Luna Lovegood."

Marietta's eyes widened as the fear returned. She shook her head. "I...no..."

"We know you do, so don't deny it. You had some of the things stolen from her mixed with your belongings," Hermione said. "Now here is what I am offering you, I am going to go create a new contract, one that says you will not bully Luna and in fact if you see someone bullying her you will do everything you can to stop it," She paused for a second before continuing it. "When you sign it, your current 'condition' will disappear."

Marietta's hands went to the mask covering her face.

"But..." Hermione continued, "I will warn you, if you sign it and you break your word again," Hermione put heavy emphasis on the last word, "you'll be wishing the word Sneak was all you had to deal with."

"And if I don't sign it?"

"Then next year, the first time we hear the Luna has been bullied, Harry and Neville will walk into Ravenclaw dorm and hex anybody that is even thinking of bullying her," Hermione replied. "Though they are going to do that anyway, but if your signature is on the contract and the 'signs' are not on you that you have broken it, you won't be bothered."

"That...that's all?" Marietta asked. "Not bully Loon..." She stopped as she saw the look in Hermione and Harry's eyes. "I mean Luna."

"There will be a clause in the contract about that name as well," Hermione said. "Yes, that's all. Besides, Luna faced Bellatrix Lestrange and Lestrange is now dead, do you really want to be on the wrong end of Luna's wand if she grows tired of your bullying? You're a Ravenclaw use your brain and when I bring the contract back later do the smart thing."

"I'll think about it."

Hermione shrugged. "Your choice."

"Just remember," Harry added, "contract or no contract, if you ever bully Luna again you will regret it. Pass the word to your friends. Let them know we know who they are and we will be watching. I protect my friends and Luna is my friend," The look in Harry's eyes caused Marietta to swallow as she nodded. He then took Hermione's hand and they started back toward their compartment leaving a very much confused and fearful Marietta in their wake.

It wasn't long after they returned to their compartment that Ginny announced she needed a bathroom break. As soon as she was out of the compartment, Hermione grabbed Ginny's bag and took small samples of the food and candies as well as a bit of the liquid in the butterbeer bottles. When she'd finished, Neville's plant had an 'accident'. With two shield charms up just in case, no mess made it onto any of the people. After the mess had been cleaned from everything but Ginny's bag, Harry sent a light bludgeoning hex into it. When Ginny returned Neville stammered, "I...I'm sorry Ginny, I was.." He nodded at his plant. "And it happened again. I tried to clean your bag but..." He nodded to the rack "but my spell, it..." He shook his head, "I'll pay for anything I damaged."

Ginny grabbed her bag down from the rack it was on only to find her hands coated in the stinksap. Looking into her bag she discovered it filled with several boxes that used to be filled with her 'gifts' squashed beyond recognition. The two bottles were also only bits of glass. The glare she leveled at Neville was frightening. "How...do you know...I mean..." She was fighting herself to make sure she didn't say anything she didn't want known. Finally she shut her mouth and pulled out her wand and sent a cleaning spell into her bag. Though the visible sinksap disappeared, by the smell, there was still some mixed in with the food and candies that littered her bag.

"I'll help pay for them as well," Harry said as he reached into his pouch. "Here's five galleons, will that cover it?"

Ginny ignored the money as she sat and stared out the window.

"Look, it was an accident," Harry said. "I'll make sure my little sister is taken care of. I'll even buy you a new bag."

Ginny couldn't take anymore. She got up and scrambled out of the compartment taking her bag with her.

Harry shrugged as he turned to Neville. "Great job," He said. "We know she won't be doling out anything now. We'd probably thrown off her plans anyway, but it's good to know she doesn't have anything to give out."

"But did we get everything she had?" Hermione asked. "What about her trunk?"

"We can deal with that at Grimmauld; I just don't want to have to keep an eye on her when we get off the train."

After making sure all of the stinksap was cleaned and an air freshening spell used, Hermione got busy working on the contract for Marietta Edgecombe. She told Luna about the deal. Though reluctant, she agreed to it when told the other option was for Neville and Harry to take a more direct approach at the bullies. As the train neared London, she had it completed and during their final round of the train, she once again asked to see Marietta.

"Here it is," Hermione said handing the parchment to Edgecombe.

Marietta took the parchment and read it carefully and then read it again. Finally she looked at Hermione. "What will happen if...if I..." she didn't need to finish the question.

"The first time you will get a warning pimple on the tip of your nose," Hermione replied. "If nothing else happens it will disappear in sixty days. The second one will be larger and it will be between your eyes. That one will not disappear for a year. You don't ever want the third time to happen for I guarantee you that you will not be able to cover it up at all."

Marietta closed her eyes for a second. Obviously imagining what it would look like. Finally she swallowed and looked back at Hermione. "And this will make what you did before.."

"What you did before, you mean?" Hermione asked. "I said at the time that if you signed you were agreeing to not tell Umbridge or anyone else. You signed and paid the price for breaking your word."

Marietta muttered something that sounded like "Bloody Gryffindors and their word."

"Nobody is saying you have to sign this," Harry said. "You now know fully what will happen if you do sign it and fail to live up to your word AGAIN."

"Just give me the quill," Marietta huffed. She took the offered quill and quickly signed her name. When she was finished, she handed the contract back to Hermione. "So when will these pimples go away?"

Hermione pulled out a mirror and handed it to her. "Take a look."

Slowly the balaclava came off and Edgecombe looked into the mirror. Her grimace turned to astonishment as she examined her face and found the pimples gone. She didn't say anything as she looked back at Harry and Hermione only nodded.

Out the window they could see the outskirts of the city of London. "We have to finish our final rounds," Harry said. With a final look between Marietta and them, they turned and walked away as Edgecombe slipped back into her compartment, Balaclava free.

They were back in the compartment when the train rolled to a stop at platform nine and three quarters. Hermione was looking out the window and not moving.

"Your parents?" Harry asked as he moved closer to her.

Hermione looked at him and smiled, but her eyes and thoughts betrayed the sadness she felt. She nodded. "I know it has never happened, not to them, but I still did it. I stole their memories and sent them away."

"You did it to protect them," Harry reminded her softly. "If anyone is to blame, it's me. You did it because of me."

A tear had leaked out of one of Hermione's eyes. She quickly brushed it away but before she could speak, to deny that it was his fault as well, Harry's arms were around her again.

"Think of it as a dream, a nightmare just like the one from last night," Harry murmured gently. "Those two people out there love you and this time it will be different. Just like I've been given Sirius, you've been given your parents back. I have my family and you have yours," He stood up and took her hand. He ran his thumb over the promise ring that adorned her left ring finger and smiled as he pulled her to her feet. "Come now, why don't you properly introduce me to my future in-laws, Mrs. Potter."

They retrieved their trunks and were almost the last ones off the train. When the ticket inspector motioned they could go through the barrier, they found Sirius, Remus and Tonks waiting for them. Behind them Molly and Arthur were greeting Ron and Ginny. Hermione glanced around and saw the two people she most wanted to see. All the trepidation left her as she ran to them. "MUM...DAD!"

Harry motioned to Sirius and the rest that he'd be right back and followed his wife.

"Well this was unexpected," Mr. Granger said as he enjoyed the overenthusiastic hug from his daughter, but as he released her his eyebrow rose at the boy who had followed.

When Hermione had given her mother a hug as well she pulled back and stood beside Harry. "Mum Dad, you met him several years ago and I've written to you about him a lot, but...but I want to introduce you to my boyfriend, Harry Potter."

"Boyfriend you say?" Richard Granger asked as he sized the young man up. He wouldn't want to call himself a social bigot but the boy in front of him didn't look like much. His clothes were many sizes too large, his trainers looked more like something that should be thrown away than worn, and his hair was going in more directions than London streets did. He held out his hand in politeness but was already envisioning getting his daughter away as quickly as possible, but then he looked Harry in the eyes. From behind the spectacles that sat upon the boy's nose emerged a set of green eyes that seemed both nervous and confident. There was also the grip of the young man's handshake. Not firm as if threatening, but not light as well. Again through the handshake came a sense of nervous confidence.

"Sir," Harry said. "Nice to meet you."

"Likewise," Richard replied still trying to figure out the contrasting youth in front of him. "Richard, Richard Granger."

"Harry," Harry replied.

"So you're the one who fought dragons and trolls?"

Harry looked around nervously, but Hermione came to his rescue. "Yes he is, but it's something that would be better to be discussed later, at home."

"Of course."

Harry looked at Mrs. Granger. "Ma'am."

"Jean," Mrs. Granger replied as she extended her hand as well.

"So that's where Hermione gets her middle name," Harry replied as he took her hand lightly and gave a slight shake. "Nice to meet you ma'am."

Jean watched as the young man's hand fell to his side and took her daughter's hand. Their fingers intertwined and a hint of silver flashed. Silver from ring that adorned her daughters left ring finger. "Hermione? Is that a ring I see?"

"Yes mum," Hermione replied and held up her hand to show her mother. "Harry gave it to me."

Jean Granger examined the ring, noticing the diamond, emerald and a light brown stone she wasn't sure of. "Very nice. You do know there is a significant meaning to wearing a ring on that finger don't you?"

"Of course," Hermione replied as she looked her mother in the eyes. "That's why it's there."

It was a bit of bad timing that the Creevey bothers passed by at that time and yelled out, "See you next year Mr. and Mrs. Potter," and then burst out laughing as they left with their parents.

"Mr. and Mrs. Potter?" Richard Granger asked.

"Yeah...uh friends of ours pretended to marry us," Harry explained.

"And just how serious a relationship do you two have?" Jean Granger asked.

"Mum, can we talk about this later," Hermione asked. "Harry needs to meet up with his godfather."

"Of course," Mrs. Granger replied in a tone that left no uncertainty that they WOULD talk about it later.

"Mr. Potter," A voice called out. Harry turned and saw Amelia Bones there with her niece Susan. "May I have a quick word? And M...Miss Granger as well."

"Sir, Ma'am," Harry said to the Grangers. "It was nice meeting you and I hope I shall see more of you this summer," He turned, and once again clasping Hermione's hand they walked over to the head of the DMLE. "Ma'am?"

"Susan, can you give us a moment please," Madam Bones said to her niece. Once Susan was far enough away she turned to Harry and Hermione. "I would like for you two to come to the Ministry tomorrow to answer further questions. If tomorrow is inconvenient than as soon as possible."

"Ma'am?"

"I've found some peculiar things that need explaining," she started as her voice lower, "for example, why am I discussing this with Mr. and Mrs. Potter?" she held up her hand to stop Harry and Hermione from speaking. "You obviously are not advertising it and I do not plan on sharing the information...yet."

"We'll be there," Harry said as he looked at Hermione.

"Thank you," Amelia answered.

They both walked over to Sirius next. The Weasleys had joined them.

"Seems strange not to see the Dursleys here," Harry said as he looked around.

"Well if you want me to drop you off there," Sirius smirked.

"No thanks." Harry replied before turning to the man with greying hair. "How are you, Moony?"

"I'm doing great, Harry. Taking care of yourself?" The werewolf replied. Harry couldn't help but look over at Tonks. He saw her eyes flicker toward the werewolf a couple of times. He smiled as he took Remus' hand. "Trying to."

It was quickly time for Hermione to leave with her parents and Harry to go with Sirius.

"Call Dobby and Winky and get the cabinet delivered soon," Harry whispered to Hermione as they hug each other farewell. "I don't want to take any of your time away from your parents, but I already miss you and we haven't even parted yet."

"I know," Hermione replied. "But we will never truly be apart, will we?"

"But I can't do this when we are not together," Harry replied and his lips found hers. When the kiss ended he remembered they were in front of everyone. He looked around and saw Hermione's parents frozen in their shoes as their faces showed surprise. Ginny and Ron both were red in their faces and were looking away. Sirius had a grin a mile wide while Tonks again was looking at Remus while the werewolf was looking at them.

"Well," Mrs. Weasley said quickly. "I think we should get going."

Another small kiss. "Til later, Mrs. Potter."

"I love you, my husband," Hermione replied.

*** E E ***

Draco Malfoy sat alone in his room looking out the window. The hedges and lawns of the vast estate were slowly darkening under the falling sunlight. He sighed. He knew it was the day he would normally have returned home on the Hogwarts Express; the day his father and mother would have been waiting for him as he left the train. But he also knew those days were but a memory. The last week had passed in a fog for the young man. He'd wake long after his mother had already left the house leaving him to manage on his own. He hadn't left his room much because every room in the manor brought back memories of his father. A father, who if the healers were to be believed would never leave the bed he now laid in. The previous day Draco had walked past his father's study and could almost hear a quill scratching on parchment. A sound that had been common in years previous. He'd entered the study that time, something he never had done without permission. Permission though was something never to come from his father again. He knew he'd never be able to sit in the chair beside his father's desk while his father spoke of a magical world that would one day be rid of the filth of muggle blood or complain about another pureblood family whose offspring had contaminated their blood with that of a muggle or muggleborn. Draco knew he'd never receive another lesson on his heritage and proper history of the magical world. A history that was denied those of non-pureblood birth, one that showed why magical purebloods were superior in all ways to those who were inferior.

As the light from the window lessened even further, the candles over his desk lit magically. It caused Draco's eyes to look that way. On the desk were his schoolbooks and copies of the Daily Prophet. That only made the hurt Draco felt in his heart even worse. As his father lay in a bed in St. Mungo's, Harry Potter was on the front page of the Prophet nearly every day. A parchment also laid on the desk, it had been there since the first day he'd been home. It was crumpled now, unreadable. A week ago it had been filled with two names and other words. When his anger at his mother had subsided, he'd remembered Potter's 'suggestion'. He'd written out the names and as he realized they were anagrams he'd at first believed what Potter had said and he'd tried to figure out why the Golden Boy would do such a thing and what he'd gain from it. As he thought it over, the answer came to him, hence the crumpled parchment. He realized Potter had tried to trick him, to use him against his own father. He realized Potter had reversed the anagram himself. He'd created a fictitious name from Lord Voldemort in an attempt to deceive Draco. During the week that followed Draco's frustration and anger had slowly built its way up. With no outlet for it, it started to consume him.

Lost in thought, Draco never heard the ringing of the entry bell but shortly voices drifted up the stairs and into his room. At first he'd paid them no mind as his mother had often entertained in the days of years past, but it wasn't long before he realized it was an unfamiliar voice his mother chatted with. Curiosity finally got the best of him and he rose from his chair and descended the steps. The voices grew louder as he made his way to his mother's lounge. When he looked in the door he stopped when he saw who it was.

"But...she's dead," Was his first thoughts as he saw the dark haired woman sitting across from his mother. His movement must have caught his mother's eye as she turned toward the door.

"Draco, come in. This is my sister Andromeda."

"Not Bellatrix," He thought, but then he remembered who Andromeda was and what his father had thought of her. Of what even her own mother had thought of her.

"You invited a blood traitor into our home?" Draco snarled as the anger he'd had built up in the last week fought to get out. A blood traitor invited into the halls of his father while he laid in a bed a St. Mungo's; Draco could only see it as the ultimate betrayal of his father.

"Draco, this is my sister," Narcissa said sharply. "You will not speak like that."

"'SHE'S A BLOOD TRAITOR!" Draco shouted. "FATHER WOULD HAVE NEVER LET THE LIKES OF HER IN THIS HOUSE."

"Maybe I should leave," Andromeda said cautiously as she sat the cup of tea she'd been drinking down and rose from her chair.

Narcissa put out her hand to in a gesture for Andromeda to stay and turned back to her son. "Draco, I am your mother. You will not..." she didn't get to finish as Draco had turned his back on her and stormed out of the room.

"I'm sorry Cissy," Andromeda said. "I really shouldn't have come."

"It's fine," Narcissa replied as she continued to look at the door her son disappeared from wondering what had happened. "He'll calm down and I'll talk to him tomorrow. He just doesn't understand."

But she didn't talk to him the next day. She went back to St. Mungo's the next morning and spent the day next to her husband. Once again Andromeda was there in the evening. By the time she arrived home it was late and she wasn't surprised that her son didn't greet her. The next day she went to speak to him only to find him not in his room. Again she wasn't surprised since she presumed he was out on the grounds somewhere. It was very late that night that she realized that he had never returned. By the next morning she was certain that her son was not there.

 
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